Don't worry, just one more Dutch item and then I'll move on to bigger (and better?) things. But I really couldn't resist showing you my other sheetlet as well, which I took home with me after my recent trip to good old Dutchland. It's the 2012 issue for 'Stamp Day'.
For some time, these anual Stamp Day issues have focused on previous Dutch definitives, usually showing rather unusual items, such as colour proofs and the like. This sheet shows proof printings of the Juliana En face series which was introduced in 1949, it being Juliana's first definitive set after she became queen in 1948. And it is an important addition to that set, because it highlights interesting developments in the design.
Just a little test: look at the basic design of the stamp (this is the Netherlands Antilles version but it's similar to the Dutch version).
And now look at a later version (1979 to be precise) of that same design.
You see any major design difference yet? Check the 2012 stamp once more and try again.
No? Okay, I'll tell you. Juliana was a reluctant queen and hated all pomp and circumstance that went with her role. So when she saw the designs for 'her' new stamp, she baulked and insisted that the diadem be removed. And so it was. But the recess-printed high values had already been engraved and the 1 guilder value had already been printed! That went into the waste paper basket but there was no time to start a new engraving, so they tried to hide the diadem as best they could.
Now the proof version on the 2012 sheetlet still includes the diadem, but the final version of 1949 looked something like this:
As you can see, the diadem has been covered up and changed into hair but the head does seem sort of 'dented'. Not ideal, but it was the best they could do at such short notice.
Other differences, also highlighted on the 2012 stamp, are that the lettering changed from outlined to solid, and the value was changed from words to numbers, to comply with UPU regulations.
And that 1979 Antilles stamp? Well, that is a mystery yet to be solved. In 1979, to mark the forthcoming change on the Dutch throne (Juliana's daughter Beatrix would take over as queen in 1980), the Antilles reissued some old Juliana stamps, and for some reason, no-one yet knows how or why, they ended up using the unadopted version with the diadem still included!
See yous later
PS: Want to read more? Try and get hold of the April 2008 issue of Stamp Magazine, for this was actually the very first feature I ever wrote for the mag!